Original Research

Using mobile reading devices to encourage positive leisure reading practices amongst adolescents – a case study from Zimbabwe

Anna J. Hugo, Ivan Bachisi
Reading & Writing | Vol 15, No 1 | a410 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/rw.v15i1.410 | © 2024 Anna J. Hugo, Ivan Bachisi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 October 2022 | Published: 31 January 2024

About the author(s)

Anna J. Hugo, Department of Language Education, Arts, and Culture, College of Education, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Ivan Bachisi, Department of Language Education, Arts, and Culture, College of Education, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


Background: Literacy is an important skill that is necessary for people – especially adolescents – to access electronic media, including mobile devices. The only way to develop competence in reading is by reading more. Young people who enjoy leisure reading are usually more successful readers. In this study, the authors did research into a group of adolescents’ leisure practices by using mobile reading devices.

Objectives: The objective was to identify the adolescents’ leisure reading identities, as the authors wished to know whether one model of leisure reading support suits everybody.

Method: A qualitative research approach was employed, making use of literacy practice interviews, the adolescent participants’ mobile reading diaries, focus group discussions, and the researchers’ personal field notes.

Results: Three distinct leisure reading identities were identified: eager readers, ‘fifty-fifty’ readers, and non-readers. It was thus evident that leisure reading practices require different types of support and encouragement from teachers and parents. Three reading identities surfaced during the study and it is acknowledged that there could be more reading identities.

Conclusion: The influence of certain systems and antecedents that could influence the leisure reading habits of the sampled group also surfaced. It became evident that there should be differentiation when groups of adolescents are supported to enhance their leisure reading and, eventually, their reading abilities.

Contribution: The article contributes to a better understanding of literacy practices among adolescent learners regarding the use of mobile devices to encourage leisure reading. It could also contribute to language teachers’ knowledge about factors in the education system that could influence learners’ reading abilities and the necessity to make provision for different reading identities in their teaching.


Differentiation; leisure reading; leisure reading identities; literacy; mobile reading devices.


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